One Pot Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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This one pot pasta with kale and Italian sausage comes together in minutes for an easy weeknight meal!

one pot pasta with Italian sausage, kale, and parmesan cheese in a white cast iron pot on a marble surface

After seeing a few Tasty-style one pot pasta recipes floating around the web, I was both intrigued by the technique and super skeptical. Could placing uncooked pasta, meat, and veggies in a pan then boiling it really lead to a delicious pasta? And, if I made it gluten-free would the pasta just turn to mush?

I'm happy to say that after a few tries, I'm no longer skeptical of the one pot pasta trend! This pasta has Italian sausage, plenty of kale, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, capers, a hint of red pepper flakes, and a creamy sauce.

How is one pot pasta different from regular pasta?

Typically when making pasta, you boil the pasta in one pot and make the other components in a separate pot, then combine them together. While we love classic pasta, this method also usually leads to 2-3 dirty pans, as well as the pasta strainer and utensils.

For this pasta, we simply combine all the ingredients in one pot and let it cook! No straining, no sauteing, and minimal dirty dishes. That makes this pasta absolutely perfect for quick weeknight meals.

Another difference from regular pasta is that by cooking the pasta in one pot with less water than you'd normally boil it in, the pasta water reduces down to create a creamy, starchy sauce. If you are dairy-free and missing creamy pasta – this one is for you!

one pot poasta with kale and italian sausage topped with capers in a white cast iron pot on a marble surface

Which pasta is best for One Pot Pasta?

Great question! Any kind of pasta will work for one pot pasta. We chose spaghetti (or linguini) here, but angel hair and fettuccine pasta will also work. Shorter pasta (think: bow-tie, penne, rotini, etc.) should work well too, it may just need a little bit longer to cook, so be sure to taste test a few noodles before taking the pot off of the heat!

How to Make One Pan Pasta

Let's jump into how to make this pasta!

  1. Add the pasta, sliced garlic, salt, sausage, and water to a pot. First, you'll start off by adding the sturdier ingredients to the pan. Make sure you choose a pan that the pasta fits in fully, then bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes. You'll want to stir the pasta occasionally, as it will stick to the bottom of the pot due to the reduced liquid content.
  3. Add the kale and lemon juice. After 10 minutes is up, stir in the kale and lemon juice, and let it cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and a thick sauce has formed, then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Finally, add the olive oil, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and capers to the pasta and toss to combine, then serve immediately!

Tips for Making the Best One Pot Pasta

  1. Don't overcook it. It may seem obvious, but the biggest key to this pasta is to make sure you watch it closely and don't let it overcook! If the pasta overcooks it will become mushy and create a gloppy, starchy sauce.
  2. Prep all your ingredients in advance. The first time I made this pasta, I thought I'd have plenty of time to wash and chop the kale, squeeze the lemon, grate the cheese, etc while the pasta was cooking – but I quickly found out I didn't, which led to overcooked pasta. For this recipe, I definitely recommend prepping all your ingredients ahead of time!
  3. Make sure the noodles fit completely in the pan. Typically when you make spaghetti it is ok if the spaghetti doesn't fit fully in the pot, but in this case, you want to make sure your pan can accommodate the noodles so they cook evenly. If it doesn't – feel free to break them in half! You can also use a noodle other than spaghetti or linguine here, but the cooking time may need a slight adjustment.
  4. Stir it as it cooks. As mentioned above, since there's less water involved here, the pasta can easily stick to the bottom of the pot, so it's important to give the pasta a stir every few minutes to keep it from sticking.
  5. If you find it too starchy, add a bit of water or broth. If you taste the pasta and feel like the sauce is too thick or starchy, add a bit of water or broth to thin it out.
  6. Make it your own. You can easily make adjustments to this pasta! Prefer spinach over kale? Add that instead. You can also change up the type of sausage you're using, substitute the sausage for shrimp, or add extra veggies like cherry tomatoes or shallots.

one pot poasta with kale and italian sausage topped with capers in a white cast iron pot on a marble surface

What type of cookware should I use to make pasta?

This is totally up to you, actually! You can make this a “one pot” pasta and use a dutch oven or soup pot, or you can make this a “one pan” pasta and use a deep skillet. You’ll just want to use a deep enough vessel so that the water is deep enough to cook all of the noodles. We used a Staub 3.75-qt Dutch Oven to make it and it had just enough room!

Can this pasta be made gluten-free?

Yes! We tested this with Jovial brown rice spaghetti. We'd recommend sticking with either brown rice or corn-based pasta if you're using gluten-free, as chickpea or similar pasta will produce a gummy sauce. It's even more important to watch gluten-free pasta in the final stages of cooking to make sure it doesn't overcook – or you'll be left with a mushy mess!

What Dishes to Serve with this Pasta Recipe

This pasta has it all – protein, carbs, and a healthy dose of green veggies, so it can totally be served all on its own for a filling, complete, and absolutely delicious meal. If you’d like to have a side to serve alongside this one pan dish, though, this simple arugula salad pairs with it perfectly!

Whether you make it gluten-free or not, we hope this one pot pasta becomes a staple in your weeknight meal menu!

More Pasta Recipes


One Pot Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

This one pot pasta combines kale, Italian sausage, lemons, garlic, and capers for a flavorful pasta that's perfect for weeknights!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5 1x


  • 12 ounces spaghetti or linguine (this one is our favorite for gluten-free)
  • 12 ounces fully cooked Italian sausage, sliced (we used Aidell's)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Juice of two lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 heads lacinato kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, for garnish


  1. Combine pasta, sliced chicken sausage, lemon zest, sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, and 4 1/2 cups water in a large pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. After 10 minutes, add the kale and lemon juice and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and about 90% of the water is gone and a thick sauce has formed, then remove the pasta from heat.
  3. Add fresh cracked black pepper, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes, capers and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

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Recipe rating

  1. Abbey says:

    This turned out great! Even the two year old enjoyed it. (Cassy’s lemony kale hack has changed my life. I’ve never craved kale before now. Haha!)
    This is going in the archive for easy weeknight meals. So thankful for minimal dishes, we ended up using paper plates which made it even easier to clean up!

  2. Sunil Dogra says:

    One post pasta with italian sausage and kale is looks perfect. Thanks for sharing

    5.0 rating

  3. Hope says:

    This was delicious and family approved! I found I did have to drain some excess water to avoid overcooking my noodles. I was quite skeptical about this working but it’s going to be part of our regular meals! Thanks for this easy, delicious recipe.

  4. Adrienne Smith says:

    I almost always overcook gluten-free pasta and this turned out beautifully! And easy and packed with flavor.

  5. Molly says:

    Just to clarify, the chicken sausage must be cooked prior to adding in with the pasta?

  6. Nicki says:

    This was a HIT! We loved the fresh flavors, the one pot meal, and how quickly it came together. Thank you for this!!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s awesome, Nicki!! We’re so glad you loved it!

  7. Jessica says:

    Have to say… I wasn’t sure about pasta in one pot but…. This is was so dang good! Will definitely be a go to dish for us because it makes such a good amount & really quick for a weeknight dinner! I actually had ground loose sausage to use so I precooked it on Sunday and then used that in the recipe and it was perfect.

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Love that! So yummy!! Thanks for sharing with us, Jessica!

  8. Krista says:

    This looks and sounds delicious. Just to clarify, cooking is done uncovered?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yep, that’s right, Krista! Enjoy!

  9. Pati says:

    Made it last night with regular wheat penne and it was delicious- nice bright lemon flavor balances the rich creamy sauce and sausage. This one is a keeper!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We’re so glad you loved it, Pati! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Doreen says:

    Not our favorite. I’m not sure if I did something wrong because every other recipe I’ve tried has been delicious.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Oh no, we’re so sorry to hear that, Doreen!!

  11. Amanda says:

    This came together like something out of Harry Potter! Legit sorcery. So delicious and the same mouth feel of the creamy pasta I’ve been missing since going DF. Definitely going in the rotation. Great job!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yeah!!! So glad you loved this, Amanda! Thank you for sharing!!!

  12. Kelsey Fissella says:

    Loved this! Followed recipe as listed (except doubled the sausage) and it was delicious!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you loved it, Kelsey!

  13. Ashton says:

    v easy & super flavorful. followed the directions exactly & added the red pepper flakes at the end.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you enjoyed this, Ashton! Thank you for sharing with us!

  14. Jillian says:

    Has anyone tried this without the cheese? My kiddos are DF and I wonder if this isn’t quite the same without the parm. Thanks!